Using Information Technology as a Source of Innovation

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When most of us think of our company’s information technology (IT) team, we often think of the folks we call in to retrieve our forgotten passwords or clear up a virus on our computers… or fix our mouse because it was unplugged. Between 2001 and 2011, more than 742,000 new IT jobs were created in the United States, an increase of 29.1% compared to employment as a whole which only grew 0.2%. There’s no question that our IT teams are a valuable resource to a company, especially during that moment of panic when the dreaded blue screen of death pops up or the file we swore we saved disappears. However, is IT’s only responsibility troubleshooting and fixing glitches? Continue Reading…

It’s All in the Design: Converting Website Visitors into Customers

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We all know that high amounts of quality website traffic is a good thing. We focus significant energy into tracking that traffic, keeping count and finding out where it is coming from. However, the number of retail website visitors means little if that traffic isn’t converting into sales. Websites can be powerful tools when it comes to growing a business, especially when website visitors convert and become costumers.

So, how can we make that website traffic meaningful? How do you make the sale to an online costumer with whom you canít directly interact?

The secret to converting traffic to sales lies in part to the design of the website. The truth is that, if you aim to convert, not just any web design will do. Customers typically gravitate to stores with excellent customer service, a friendly online experience (everything works as it should) and good organization. The same is true of websites. When your website is user-friendly with support and contact information easy to find, your visitors are more likely to make a purchase. Continue Reading…

Planning Ahead for Smart Card Use in the U.S

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We’ve heard the buzz about smart cards for years, but since they haven’t made a big appearance in the United States, many retailers, Working Person’s Store included, still haven’t installed terminals that read them.  EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) smart cards have been around since 1994 and are widely used today in Europe.  Is it time for American retailers to get on board?

While there were more than 1.5 million EMV-compliance cards being used around the world last year, U.S. card issuers and retailers have stuck to the traditional mag-stripe card.  Things will be changing, however, since several U.S. banks have started issuing cards with both a mag-stripe and a chip.  In fact, many are considering smart card rollouts within the next three to five years. Continue Reading…

The Construction Industry: A Leader in Economy Building

Economic Impact Of Construction

Construction Activity Is A Leading Economic Indicator

We can all agree that job creation is a hot topic when discussing the state of today’s economy.  But, which jobs are the most crucial to create?  What industries, when prospering, can help stimulate the economy?  Experts agree that an increase in construction jobs can offer significant economic stimulus.

In Indiana, one dollar spent on construction activity can generate about $2.50 in economic activity.  That statistic alone shows how important an active construction industry can be.  However, these days, not enough is being invested in construction which leaves the future looking uncertain.  Currently, construction accounts for about 2.5 percent of the total economic activity in Indiana which is down from the typical 5 percent.  The number of construction workers employed across the state is also down, by 13 percent to be exact, from its peak high in 2005.  Working Person’s Store recognizes how important these job are to working people and our economy. Continue Reading…

What is Social Media’s Place At Work?

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Have you ever been advised to “clean up” your Facebook profile or censor your tweets because your boss may be monitoring your social media activity?  As much of a inconvenience as it can be, no one really wants their boss to know what they do on the weekends.  However, Congress and more than a dozen states have been considering new laws that may protect your privacy when it comes to what you do online.  This new legislation would restrict, or possibly forbid, employers from requesting social media passwords from their current employees or applicants regardless of weather or not these social media accounts were accessed during work hours or on company-owned devices.

There are valid arguments on both sides of this debate.  For example, there is the case of the shooting in a New Jersey supermarket that killed two of its employees.  The shooter, also an employee of the supermarket, had tweeted remarks that stated his intention.   One could argue that, if these tweets were seen by managment, the tragedy could have been thwarted. Continue Reading…

Alert- Lithium Battery Shipment Regulations to Change January 1, 2013

If you are a retailer in the twenty-first century, chances are you ship something that contains batteries. Here at Working Person’s Store, we ship battery-operated flashlights, gloves, socks, and heated vests to destinations around the world. Some of the products we ship contain lithium batteries, which are considered a hazardous material because they can short circuit.

New regulations regarding the international air shipment of lithium batteries go into effect January 1, 2013. A good source for information about these new regulations is the International Air Transport Association, including its updated Lithium Battery Guidance Document. The Guidance Document as well as other helpful information, including pamphlets for consumers and shippers, is available online. Continue Reading…

Creating Collaborative Content Teams

All Departments Should Collaborate For A Successful Content Program

Creating Collaborative Content Teams

Not so long ago a retailer’s marketing materials included predictable options that were generated on a somewhat repetitive editorial schedule- spring, fall, and holiday catalogs; regular and seasonal advertisements placed to generate the biggest impact at the least cost; sales sheets for buyers; and perhaps some direct mail pieces timed to hit desks and counter-tops at just the moment potential buyers are expected to be most receptive.

But for today’s e-tailer, the well-defined editorial calendars of yesterday that established the year-to-year routines of the marketing, merchandising and creative teams have been become more complex. In the virtual multi-channel marketplace, e-tailers face a never-ending challenge to meet the voracious demand for a continuous supply of updated content.

In this fast-paced climate of overlapping demands, no single approach will work for every every company. Every business has its own personality, culture, and organizational needs. The processes implemented, collaboration between the individual segments of each organization is crucial to its success. Neil Schuler of Schuler Creative Consulting suggests this three-step approach to creating a workable process:

  • Identify the steps/tasks needed to complete a project and map out a timeline
  • Identify the points of collaboration between the individual work teams and schedule face-to-face meetings at these points
  • Establish a guide for each of these inter-team meetings, outline objectives, duration, required input, etc. Continue Reading…

Digital Retail Catalogs- Your Next Channel Of Distribution

Put Your Print Catalog Online To Reach More Customers

So you have a print catalog and you have a website. What’s next? To stay current with customer expectations, it’s time to think about making a digital catalog your next channel of distribution.

Almost 90% of those who responded to a 2012 Catalog Spree survey indicated they would opt out of receiving some or all of their mailed print catalogs if the catalogs were available digitally. And over 55% would prefer to receive all of their catalogs digitally.

A digital catalog can be created simply by creating a PDF of your print catalog, but that really is just the start of an array of possibilities. Digital catalogs today increasingly include rich interactive content with audio, video, search functions and web links. The possibilities are endless, and meaningful content will increase your catalog’s chances of being viewed. Continue Reading…

Mobile Devices Pose Benefits and Risks

Assess Risks Posed By Mobile Devices

Mobile Devices Pose Benefits and Risks
Are You Prepared?

Chances are, some of your corporate data, and likely even that of your customers and clients, is walking around in someone’s back pocket or stuck in the side of someone’s purse. Perhaps your sales manager even handed it over to her 13-year-old for a quick call home when the Saturday night movie lets out.

Every business needs to develop a mobile device policy, whether it conducts business transactions via mobile devices or not. Because whether it’s the internal company contact list, a spreadsheet with last year’s sales data or your customers’ credit card numbers, some of your data is probably residing on the phones, notebooks, and tablets of your employees. And whether or not you have an operating policy to guide usage and access, they are probably using those same devices to access your network.

The statistics reported at MobiThinking by various analysts are staggering: Six billion mobile subscriptions held by an estimated 4.2 billion people! Itís time for all enterprises to take advantage of this growth and also protect both businesses and employees from risks inherent to such power. Continue Reading…

Will 2013 Be a Lucky Number for Entrepreneurs?

Optimism In 2013

Will 2013 Be a Lucky Number for Entrepreneurs?

With retail sales inching upward in advance of the holiday shopping season and economic indicators looking better than they have in recent years, we’re wondering whether 2013 will prove to be a turnaround year for the economy. We certainly hope so and we’re taking a few minutes away from flurry to think about what has sustained us through these tough times.

Stores.org reported earlier this year that market research leader IBISWorld identified these retail sectors as the top five prospects for 2012, based on start-up costs, barriers to entry, and estimated 2012 revenue: tires; handbags, luggage, and accessories; art; furniture; and specialty foods. Not only did the decidedly unglamorous tire dealership top the list, its expected growth of 10% is almost double that of the leading trailer, handbags and related goods, at 5.5%. Continue Reading…

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